Heritage Cases

Synchrotron scan of a dinosaur egg and embryo





Case Type: 


This is an application to export and synchrotron scan specimen BP/1/3740. The fossil will be carried as hand luggage in a secured case by Dr. Jakata to the ESRF at the end of March 2020. The synchrotron scanning will be performed by Dr. Jakata himself, with the assistance of Dr. Tafforeau. Synchrotron scanning is a non-invasive, non-destructive technique based on X-ray radiation, and is harmless to the fossil. The specimen will be carried back to South Africa by Dr. Jakata when the experiment is over (end of 2020).


BP/1/3740 is a dinosaur egg, presumably of Massospondylus from the Lower Jurassic of Lesotho, which contains a fossilized embryo. Fossilized eggs from Southern Africa are highly scientifically relevant as they are the oldest dinosaur eggs and embryos in the world (Chapelle et al., 2017). This particular specimen has already been scanned at the ESRF (Fernandez, 2010), but the contrast was poor and recent improvements in the technology will significantly improve these results (Tafforeau, Pers. Comm.).


Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 13:53





Citation Type Date Retrieved
Chapelle, K.E.J., Choinière, J.N., Fernandez, V. 2017. Studying some of the world’s oldest known dinosaurian embryos using synchrotron microtomography. In: Moreno-Azanza, M and Mateus, O, (Eds.) VI Symposium on Dinosaur Eggs and Babies. Caparica, Portugal. 3-7 October, 2017. p.18. Other Publication
Fernandez, V. 2010. Détection et imagerie d’embryons fossilisés in ovo par microtomographie synchrotron Étude des embryons énigmatiques de Phu Phok (Crétacé Inférieur, Thaïlande). PhD thesis, European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France, 337p. Other Publication

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